Bob Messenger graduated with his bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from California State University Northridge in 1981. He is a retired Navy carrier pilot with more than 2,500 flight hours. Until his retirement in 2015, he served as program manager for Raytheon’s AIM-9X/F-22 integration program.

Currently, Messenger is an adjunct lecturer at the University of Arizona’s Eller College of Management and the colleges of Science and Engineering. 

This is his third year as a mentor for the Engineering Design Program.

What inspired you to become a mentor in the first place?

I became a mentor to give back and contribute to our future engineering leaders.

How have you benefited from the experience of being a mentor?

I had various mentors in the military and during my civilian career, and mentorship was invaluable at supporting me in navigating difficult times during my career.

How does being on a mentored design team help students in the professional world?

They learn that they are not alone and that they can reach out to the experts that are all around them when they need support.

What do you enjoy about working with the students?

I have really enjoyed working with all the teams. One that was particularly interesting was the Modular Payload Bay design project for Northrup Grumman last year.

What advice would you offer to others considering mentoring a design team?

If it is something you are interested in, go for it. You’ll have tons of fun!

How do employers benefit when they hire students who have been on a mentored senior design team?

These students understand how to work on a project team in a collaborative environment and can hit the deck running when they are hired. It takes these students much less time to get up to speed than others.

Tell us something about yourself that people might be surprised to learn.

I had a career as a Navy carrier pilot where I cruised around the world and visited many exotic ports. I love to ski.